Paris: Former world champion Philippe Gilbert suffered a fractured finger after being attacked by a drunk driver during a training run, his BMC Racing team said on Friday.
The 33-year-old needed surgery on the injury which occured when he and fellow rider Loic Vliegen were targeted by two drunk men in a car. One of the men stepped out of the car and jostled with Vliegen and Gilbert, fracturing Gilbert's middle finger on his left hand in the process, said the team.
"I'm not feeling too bad at all. More than anything I am shocked that this happened as you don't expect anything like this to take place when you head out for a training ride," said 2012 world champion Gilbert. BMC doctor Max Testa said Gilbert needed five pins inserted in his middle finger to secure three small fractures.
"He is otherwise fine but will need to take a day or two off the bike," said Testa. "After the weekend we should have a better idea of the impact this will have on his Ardennes Classics campaign, but at this stage he should be fine to race. Luckily Loic was not injured in the altercation." It is understood that the two men were arrested by Belgian police at the time of the incident.